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HERE ON EARTH

SYNOPSIS:
After burning down a small town diner as the result of a reckless drag race, Kelley Morse (Chris Klein), a rich and cocky prep boy from the city, and Jasper (Josh Harnett), an unassuming local lad, are sentenced to some character building via helping to rebuild the diner. With no other accommodation available, Kelley is forced to stay with Jasper and his family for the duration of the project. While in town he attracts the attentions of the dinerís waitress Sam (Leelee Sobieski), who is also Jasperís long-time girlfriend, and was the initial catalyst for the car jinks.

"Ah, ye age old love triangle between The Selfless Farm Boy With The Bad Haircut, The Arrogant Rich Kid With The Bad Attitude and The Angelic Innocent With Something Bad About To Happen To Her. Here we have the originality of Dawsonís Creek with pretensions to boot: the film attempts an earnest contemplation of the meaning of mortality a la Atom Egyonís The Sweet Hereafter (a Robert Birch poem substituting for the Pied Piper metaphor) but comes across with all the profundity of Love Story. Yet I enjoyed Here On Earth. Why? Not because of the tentative tugging at the tear ducts Ė even as a sentimental weepy itís hardly likely to send Kleenex accountants into paroxysms of excitement. Instead, two words explain my interest: Leelee Sobieski. Looking remarkably like a young Helen Hunt (only prettier), Sobieski portrays Sam with such an endearing spirit that itís almost possible to overlook the fact that the screenplay in isolation would define her character with all the sharpness of an overripe banana. Her compelling deep-toned voice and perfectly timed furtive glances even allow her to rattle off lines like "a little bit of heaven here on Earth" without prompting me to check if thereís a sick bag at hand. And sheís ably supported by Josh Harnett and Chris Klein, who manages to impress despite having to prance about half the time sweaty and shirtless as if secretly auditioning for a Solo-man commercial. The filmís saving grace is that itís simple enough to be carried by this young, talented thespian trio Ė to the extent that itís well worth seeing despite its flaws."
Brad Green

"Much has been written about the need for myth in our lives from Jung through Joseph Campbell. We like the familiarity of these stories, even need them. Perhaps this helps explain why it is possible to sit through Here on Earth knowing every plot twist, every line in advance, and still sob uncontrollably in the end. What else could explain it? It is obviously bad, yet still manages to press all the right buttons at the right time. So much of this story has been told before. Think Love Story and every other film like it. The plot is a clone of countless others. Cloning, though, has not been restricted to the script. You've heard of Dolly the sheep? Introducing Leelee Sobieski. Somehow the filmmakers have managed to create the first ever human clone by getting hold of a little DNA (a stray strand of hair?) of Helen Hunt. Everything from the looks to the mannerisms to the voice of Ms Sobieski has at some point belonged to Ms Hunt. Weird. Fortunately, like Ms Hunt, Ms Sobieski while not the best actress in the world is a good one. As are the rest of the cast. Klein does a decent job convincing us that there is something to like about this snotty nosed brat and Hartnett gets all our sympathy as he watches his love slip away. Sure it's a bunch of cliched nonsense but if you need a good cry, take a box of tissues and sob away to your heart's content."
Lee Gough

"Itís refreshing to see good young actors given a chance to work in a genre other than the teen "comedies" which currently dominate our screens. In Here on Earth, first-time director Mark Pizarski tries valiantly to create a substantial story about teenagers, but stumbles on a script which lurches from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again in the space of 97 minutes. Some scenes are subtle and beautifully executed; but all too often theyíre followed by scenes which are so obviously contrived and unbelievable they donít seem to belong in the same movie. Perhaps this is the work of "script doctors"; but whatever the reason, the hokey elements prevent the film from rising to any great heights. Thereís even a late plot development which smacks of desperation not development. The film is however a joy to look at, with brilliant cinematography and wonderful locations providing just the right mood. The three young talents at the centre of the story do a great job with difficult roles. Leelee Sobieski shows why sheís a star of the future with a performance which overshadows the remainder of the film. Chris Klein is also fine as Kelley; but his character is written so muddily, itís difficult to generate a lot of sympathy for him. Josh Hartnett is solid as Jasper, but his best scenes come early in the film and his character gets a little lost in the latter stages. Despite some notable performances and several good scenes, Here on Earth is a largely uninspiring film. While it pushes some of the right buttons itís too formulated (and formulaic) to be truly successful."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 3

TRAILER

HERE ON EARTH (PG)
(US)

CAST: Chris Klein, Leelee Sobieski, Josh Hartnett, Michael Rooker, Annie Corley, Bruce Greenwood

PRODUCERS: David T. Friendly

DIRECTOR: Mark Piznarski

SCRIPT: Michael Seitzman

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael D. OíShea

EDITOR: Robert Frazen

MUSIC: Andrea Morricone

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dina Lipton

RUNNING TIME: 97 min

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 20, 2000

VIDEO RELEASE: December 20, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment







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